"Excellent attention to detail – every request handled with infinite care!"
This was our very first safari – 5 of us – and we decided to combine it with a Kili-climbing effort. Our research started 6 months before our intended trip and Chalo Africa handled our zillion questions with patience and detail. How many routes are there to Kili – which route is the best option for novices – day-time summit or night-time – temperature ranges on top of Kili – gear checklist – menu options for vegetarians – sampler safari for first timers etc. Each question/concern/apprehension was dealt with promptly and with unfailing politeness.
Our kili team was with Shah tours – and we have not come across a harder-working and more professional set of porters and guides – not to mention the one cook who catered to our every whim with a cheerful smile on his face – salad, french fries, rice, vegetable stews, omelettes, pasta and marinara – you name it – we had it on Kili. Eventually, 2 out of our group succumbed to altitude sickness and had to return before summit day. Chalo team made sure that they made it back to ground zero safely and followed up on their health status the next 3 days. I, on the other hand, will maintain until the end of my Life – that had it not been for the strong and supporting hand of Augustine – our tireless Kili guide & our two summit porters – would’ve never made it to Gilman’s Point – the very first peak. We ran out of time to get to Uhuru – guess that’ll have to wait another year.
Our safari experience was incredible. We covered the major parks in Tanzania in 5 days – Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Serengeti, Ngorogoro. Our guide Fadhili Miya – incredibly knowledgeable about every subject under the sun. He was our very own Google/Wikipedia combination and tirelessly educated us on everything from the big 5 to local politics, the Masai people, economic stability, cuisine – there is nothing that the man does not know.
Our very first day – we saw a black Mamba cross our path – Fadhili said in all his years he has seen just one other time. The third day, Fadhili spotted a mamma cheetah with 2 cubs and decided at one glance that they were hungry and on the move for food. That if we followed them for a little while, we would be able to witness them hunting. Sure enough – we carefully stalked the mom and her babies for a little over an hour just as they themselves stalked a herd of unsuspecting gazelles – until at the very end – even though I was closely following every move of mamma Cheetah, she was so darn fast – that it was over in a flash. Just as well – because I was saddened for the gazelle herd even though I understood that the Cheetahs had to eat. We were literally parked 15 feet away from the Cheetahs while they scrunched and slurped their way through lunch – but they were very refined and couth. There were no gory blood and guts sight – and we went home that evening awed at Fadhili’s instincts and grateful for that very rare opportunity to witness something so uniquely untamed and wildly beautiful.
Our “tents” and lodges were beautiful and given the surroundings – lakes, forests etc. – surprisingly mosquito-free. And the food – SPECTACULAR!!! There was a buffet in all but one place – sumptuous salads, bread rolls, fresh fruits, vegetables grilled to perfection, chicken & beef for the carnivores, dessert table with cheesecake, chocolate cake, custards et al. The pineapples here are the sweetest I have had anywhere in the world. And a bar with an assortment of great wines and other alcohols/cocktails.
Today is my last day in Africa – we moved on from Tanzania to Nairobi – Kenya. I am already feeling sad at the thought of leaving – but hope to be back again someday. Thank you Chalo – for an amazing journey and for opening up a whole new world for us. Asante sana!!! 🙂